In our current climate, there’s nothing better than escaping into the pages of a good book—and these days, it seems like there’s a book for everyone. Or is there?
One demographic is slipping through the cracks: 10–14-year-olds. MG (middle grade) novels are strictly aimed at readers 8–12 years old, while YA (young adult) is increasingly skewing older and older: since 2012, more than half of YA readers have been adults. A Publishing & Weekly article points out that the 10–14 category used to exist, but no longer does.
Unfortunately, this means that tweens are left hanging: ready to move on from MG reads, but not quite ready for YA titles full of violence and sex. Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give, recently questioned the lack of an industry category for this age group on Twitter.
As an author writing for 10–14-year-olds, this situation has made marketing my books quite difficult. Bookshops aren’t sure where to shelve my series and the usual mechanisms for spreading word of mouth—such as book awards—are rarely available. My first novel, Esme’s Wish, a fantasy adventure set in an alternate world, struggled when it came to finding a publisher. Now that it’s on the shelves, it has found a sweet spot with girls aged 10–14, who can relate to the themes of family and friendship.
There are only so many times someone can read Harry Potter. Here’s a list of other reads for this neglected age group:
The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
The Inkheart trilogy by Cornelia Funke
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
The Changeover by Margaret Mahy
The Bartimaeus Sequence by Jonathan Stroud
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
The Ferryman series by Claire McFall
What books do you recommend for this age group? Let me know in the comments below!